Monday, June 13, 2011

Calico Mine Train Postcards, Part Two

Here is the second post featuring vintage postcards from Knott's Berry Farm's Calico Mine Train (see part one here). This time we are focusing on the little Mine Trains, which were constructed by Bud Hurlbut (who had built more than a few miniature trains for various amusement parks).

This first example is one of my favorites. Not only do you get a good look at the strange and wonderful rock work and the sturdy saddle-tanker locomotive, but Bud Hurlbut himself makes a rare appearance.

That's Bud, standing next to the little train! A white shirt and black string tie seemed to be his standard work outfit from this period. Bud was involved in the creation of the Henry's Livery (a little car ride), both merry-go-rounds, the lagoon area (including another small train), the Log Ride, the Happy Sombrero ride, the replica of the Liberty Bell, and more. He lived to the venerable age of 93.

I love the waterfalls cascading down the front of the show building, as if some underground river suddenly burst forth. And on a hot day, the fine mist they provide is pretty nice too.

Bud built 6 mine trains for the attraction, all electric-powered, and capable of carrying some 50 passengers each. Besides going up and down hill all day, they manage to navigate some pretty tight turns at some points.

This card shows the trains with updated paint schemes. Watch out for the prickly pear cactus!

And one final shot!

In part three, we will finally be getting to the good stuff... going inside the Calico Mine!


Chris Merritt said...

Great postcards - very cool!

Nancy said...

wait, there is better stuff than these?! i find that very hard to believe, but i will take your word for it!

i love the coloration of these images, how the sunset and clear sky makes it very warm and beautiful!

JG said...

Oh Major, you have surpassed expectations today.

How wonderful to see these, what memories!

Can't wait to go inside!

Thank you so much!


Chuck said...

I love the detailing of the locomotives, but one left-off detail has always puzzled me. There are no drive rods or side rods on any of these locomotives.

The vast majority of steam locomotives (including the little 2-4-0Ts these were based on) transfer power to the drive wheels via a drive rod between the pistons (the little horizontal cylinders on the front corners of the locomotive) and a wheel. The drive wheels are then connected by a siderod to transfer power to additional wheels. If these were real steam locomotives, they would never be able to move under their own power.

I've just thought it odd that, with all of the other detailing, they left these off. I hope I haven't spoiled the illusion for anyone - it's still a wonderful ride.

Major Pepperidge said...

I can't explain it, chuck! I'm sure Bud Hurlbut certainly knew what should be on a train, but for some reason he left the drive rods off. Money? Time?

Chuck said...

I'm guessing they saved time, effort & resources when it came to maintenance. That's at least six less points you have to keep lubricated and in good working order and six less things to break. The rods and faux pistons had the potential of degrading ride operation or pulling a locomotive out of service if they were sticking or otherwise not working properly and added nothing to ride operation. They also would have added weight, and we're talking battery-powered motors and roller-coaster-style chain drives to get up hills using 1959-60 technology. The only plus would have been cosmetic, and I'm sure the benefits of omitting them were deemed great enough to warrant that decision.

Of course, the locos on that OTHER battery-powered mine ride in Anaheim had purely cosmetic side rods and drivers, but we all know how that turned out. The added economic drain of trying to keep those unneccessary components running led to the forced retirement of the Conestoga Wagons, the Stagecoach, and the Mule Pack, and even those cost-saving measures weren't enough to save the ride in the end. One only needs to look at which ride is still running today to know who made the right decision.

Larry Howard said...

Very good layout on the mine ride.I worked for Bud many years in the shop. Bud never cut any corners building anything.The finist man i have ever known.

Major Pepperidge said...

Thank you for your comment, Larry... I'll bet you have a lot of fun stories! Time for an interview!!